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Rock Hard Fest 13.05 - 15.05 2005


ROCK HARD FESTIVAL 13.05. - 15.05 2005

This years Rockhard Festival stood under many good stars. SENTENCED Final Tour, ACCEPT Reunion, JON OLIVA the voice of SAVATAGE all the names, last but not least to be mentioned along with a doubtful armistice with the weathergod.
Hundreds of metal hungry folks came since Thursday the 12th out to Gelsenkirchen, Germany on Whitsuntide to salute the highly well picked festival line up. The surprisingly calm and nice surroundment of the Gelsenkirchen Amphitheater beared enough space for small parking and camping site, nearby  the amphitheater main stage, behind the Rhein Herne Canal.
Not necessary to mention that parking site was overwhelmed already by the time of the warm-up show, the Red-Cross people put up their tents by 19 oclock, cars with 666 license plates were circling all over place feeding everybody with loud metal of all genres.

FRIDAY the 13th evening opener (main stage was closed yet until Saturday) on the SimEvil stage were the Germans of REGICIDE, who gave everybody a really good welcome and foretaste of what was going to expect them.
The slurking down rain did not stop those who were looking forward to see the Swedish SUNRIDE, and their smart band members doing rocknroll at its best.
First beams of Bratwurst smell raised and the first empty beer barrels were about to be changed, when the winner of this years SimEvil German Band Contest, ABANDONED from Hessen claimed stage and gave a blazing portion of Thrash Metal to all those who could stand. Highly dangerous vocals and tightly played instrumentals draught all the others down to stage as well. ABANDONED brought not only musik but also some Hessian culture in form of applewine, poured to the folks by some pretty red-haired maid and the outrageous appearance of the Delirious-singer, while playing a song from their very first demo-album and thanking for support.
Helping themselfes to a beer in the break, one name everybody of the crowd was looking forward to: GIRLSCHOOL, the notorious women punk - metal combo of the 80s. There were even rumours about the Godmothers Of Punk n Roll partying somewhere among the crowd before entering stage right after 10 oclock. Nobodys expectations were dissappointed there, the four ladies of GIRLSCHOOL were smashing heads as if the eighties had never ended, giving some Motrhead coversongs and even one song from their actual album at its best.
Those who could still stand after the gig in the rain were triggered either by their own celluloid homes or by the Abyss metal disco tent, of course not without the hope to gather another glimpse of GIRLSCHOOL members mini-skirted legs...Getting drunk at moderate prices the whole weekend (Beer 2,30; Water 2,30) and being partying with other freaks from all over the need to say, the metal party tent was boiling until the early morning hours.

SATURDAY, the 14th started with no parking lots, more arriving people, a clouded sky and COMMUNIC from Norway on main stage, who did a great job, playing for the joy of the early awoken Powermetal-Fan nearly the whole Conspiracy In Mind - Album.
In the so-called midday heat, the vegetarians HEAVEN SHALL BURN from East - Germany entered stage and finest FastForward/Metalcore blasted away even the last signs of headache. Although their singer Marcus couldnt unfortunately make it on stage this time, his counterpart from MAROON didnt dissappoint any HEAVEN SHALL BURN fan. Beating the crap out of the day, band members were doing good performance and the moshpit was continuously streamed by people. With acknowledgements to THE HAUNTED who were awaited later in the afternoon, band  has  certainly won some new fans before going.
But a short break had to be... for the Finnish warriors of ENSIFERUM, a Highlight of the growing Viking Metal Scene due to people like AMON AMARTH or FINNTROLL, the forebodies expelled to the sun and with painted faces the three young vikings took over stage, followed by the keyboard lady. Finland flags and a nearly bursting amphitheater, some fans even armed with swords and shields, were saluting ENSIFERUM. After the first two songs they were already in battle. Hero In A Dream , Token Of Time and many more  in bloody good viking war style! Security had lots to do, despite the early afternoon hour...Certainly one of the best bands of the whole festival!!!
Thirsty and hungry crawling to the next beer, there hardly was time not to miss the Swedish guys of THE HAUNTED...Eagerly waiting people were not supposed to, right? I was glad to be late and to be not in front of stage, missed the moshpit which had turned into a bloody battle!! Thrashmetal at its most bloody core, the Frontman Peter Dolving was turned on certainly not by energy drink only, spitting one bullet right after another among people while freaking out totally in a quite artistic manner...A brilliant show, support the HAUNTED = support brutal music !!!
Back to black romantism, SAMAEL were their old strength, the singer dressed in pirate style, always watching not to be hit in the face by his collegues guitar riff, they took over stage, live and direct..Many waiting people right and left beside the stage were draught back, to see SAMAEL performing songs of their latest album Reign Of Light as if the apocalypse had dawned itself!!!  Great Metal at its best, SONATA ARCTICA seemed to have picked a bad day ...Problems with the sound (mixer had misplaced the bassist, the keyboarder losing his cable etc) theyre were playing nearly all songs from the albums Victorias Secret, Dont Say A Word, Full Moon, The Cage, but the only really enthusiastic public seemed to be some well drunken couples, listening in the cold early evening.... Time to relax there was before.... AMON AMARTH! Starting with Fate Of Norns, the Vikings were not only politically correct telling their fans to help each other up in case people fall in the moshpit, being hosted with swords and shields, but also moshing and headbanging and kicking ass at their best, in the good old way! While performing Bleed For Ancient Cold, on the right from the stage a naked long-haired man seemed to appear out of the Rhein-Herne-Channel.... welcomed by some applause, he saluted the band  politely and jumped back into the river. Short gig, it was though...The CHILDREN OF BODOM crowd was waiting.
Playing a blended choice of their songs, this one of the most popular considered acts had, in my opinion, to struggle a lot for defending this range...Sixpounder, Silent Night, Bodom Night and others were played impeccably, no doubt on that... Singers attitude to begin each word with Fuck was nice to mention. Playing songs from the actual album Hate Crew Deathroll and giving even a foretaste of the coming album Are you Dead Yet (presumably release date is going to be September), the CHILDREN OF BODOM left a taste of an excellent performance. Not the really perfect timing for the main act of the day - voice of SAVATAGE.. JON OLIVA. Anxious fans were questioning whether hit or shit...And I must admit, he did it! Spreading an unforgettable atmosphere among those who had been standing the cold and the rain for more than ten hours, JON OLIVA managed to play old SAVATAGE Songs that werent heard for ages in his well-known manner. Gutter Ballet, Ghost In The Ruins -  wow, one could tell he had assembled some excellent musicians around him this night, and while doing jokes like Hey, you got a fat guy on stage and this is all you can do? he was transforming memory to presence. I saw people, who were even having tears in their eyes, and I am glad it was darkest night so I wont have to recognize them...Definetely, JON OLIVA IS the voice of SAVATAGE.

Sunday the 15t
Confessions some better never, some better late... Crawling to the amphitheatre after a short glimpse on some vomit-looking sky, not to forget the soccer scores yelling out of the radios on the way, and recognizing from far the sound of WOLF... what a loss!! But why are we a team? My collegue B. told me then, that the previous band, HELLFUELED from Sweden with Frontman Andy Alkman, were not only sounding like Ozzy Osbourne in his good days, but also were given the Rock Hard Trophee for Best Newcomer, an honour they have certainly earned after 7 years band history, six demos and the excellent Volume One album. To my biggest surprise, there were people who were suffering more than me: the Swedish WOLF on stage, playing everything totally well apart from sounding not awake yet because of the singers voice travelling far deeper than usual, saluting the slowly arriving people and the rain with a weak but certain  FuckinHeavy Metal...! Brilliant guitar work, some breeze of the 80s, songs like Genocide, Night Walker or Evil Star and WOLF, promising to drink some more, leave stage. No need to mention they were seen backstage afterwards, drinking the whole afternoon...THRESHOLD, excellent progressive metal band, spreading energy all over the place with the wide grinning singer Mac were just good..Any signs of having been apart for some time without rehearsals. And, surprisingly in the early afternoon at 4 oclock, the ancestors of Swedish Death Metal UNLEASHED seem to have been a secret headliner to those guys, who suddenly appear growling, half naked and with Swedish flags on their shoulders downstairs near the stage. UNLEASHED band head Johnny Hedlund as rough and original as always giving a relaxed best-of UNLEASHED songs, with  Death Metal Victory and Hells Unleashed, some few songs from the last Sworn Allegiance - album and an atmosphere of never ending hate! Confidently played solos, stagediving and singing moshheads this was the  afternoon coffee we have been waiting for! PRETTY MAIDS, the Danish must for every hardrock fan, were giving the pleasureof meticulosly piled guitar sounds and an encore with sympathy.. The Future World - album was the theme, and every PRETTY MAIDS Fan seemed to be more than convenient. MASTERPLAN were enjoying the luxury of some sunbeams and partying fans...Most perfect conditions, as singer Jorn Lande had to admit during his gig. Crawling For Heroes and Back For My Life, just to tell a few of MASTERPLAN s setlist... Eternal perdition to those who have failed  the OVERKILL gig for any good reason...They were killing, celebrating this year their 20th band jubilee. The Overkill fanclub Skullcrushers brought an award OVERKILL have certainly been in need of... Fuck you  and songs from the new album, OVERKILL knew for sure how to give the crowd a good time in the moshpit. SENTENCED, shit we will miss them...playing for more than one hour during the dawn in front of a whole amphitheatre and being as good as in times of Love And Death SENTENCED were. What I never have been daring to expect and what happened right before my eyes: ACCEPT on stage reunited. With a firework, they were adopted after a more than two hours show...Monsters of rock ACCEPT truly are!!!

Well thanks to all the Rock Hard people for the great lineup and the exeptional organisation of everything up to clean toilets and sympathic security... This was a weekend which was meant to be never over and Rock Hard has to be visited next year for sure!



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